The latter post, citing as it does an important article by Haidar Eid, an Associate Professor at Gaza's Al Aqsa University is particularly important.
I was e-mailed today by someone who was previously unknown to me, one Nahida. Nahida confined her argument to the Subject line: ' Would you please get your facts right and stop spreading zionist propaganda poison and lies against the Palestinian Resistance'. Although clearly an Islamist, her argument belongs in what we used to call the Stalinist School of Falsification. 70 years ago, if you criticised Stalinism you were supporting imperialism. Today if you criticise Hamas you are criticising the Palestinian struggle, as if the resistance is embodied in an Islamic movement that is both incoherent politically and inarticulate.
She cites the demonstrations in Gaza as some kind of proof that Hamas therefore supported the Revolution in Egypt. I have no doubt that youths and others in Gaza supported and took part in demonstrations against Mubarak and in support of the Egyptian revolution but that doesn't mean Hamas was responsible for, or supported, those demonstrations.
It is a fact that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is essentially the Gazan wing, did not support the Egyptian protests for the first few days and was cautious afterwards. This is consistent with its historical record of being a very conservative and reactionary political formation and one which has always been cautious about supporting mass movements.
The people of Gaza and Hamas are of course not one and the same. Hamas did try to stop demonstrations against Mubarak but found it impossible to maintain such a stance, in view of the siege of Gaza by Egypt. But according to Nahida's 'logic' maybe the blogger Angry Arab is also a Zionist when he posted the following on Tuesday, February 01 2011:
Another argument of Nahida is that Ha'aretz is a Zionist paper. But of course it is irrelevant whether or not Haaretz is a Zionist paper or not. There is no Zionist interest in showing that Hamas is also opposed, alongside the Israeli government, to democracy in the Arab world. In fact Israeli and western propaganda has been designed to show that Islamic fundamentalism is behind the protests. This is the argument of the US neo-cons and anyone who saw the interview of John Bolton, the Bush assistant Secretary of State last week.
The lousy Hamas government in Gaza yesterday stopped Palestinians in Gaza from demonstrating in support of the Egyptian people's uprising. They even apprehended the protesters for a few hours. So the Palestinian people now live under double oppression: that of Israeli occupation, and that of Fatah in West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
But of course Islamic fundamentalists are not democrats since the word of god is not open to debate or question. Haaretz is also Israel’s only liberal Zionist paper and as such has printed many articles that anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians have used. Indeed Zionists regularly complain about Haaretz’s failure to be a propaganda sheet. Neither Amira Hass and Gideon Levy are Zionists and I know that Amira Hass, who lived in Gaza, is very critical of the authoritarianism of Hamas, as I’m sure is Gideon Levy.
But let's see what Haidar Eid, who no-one can accuse of being a 'Zionist' said in Tough Questions for Hamas of 2 November 2010:
Hamas is politically reactionary in many ways. But for the Israeli/Egyptian siege it would have stepped up its own repression of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It has made efforts to force women to wear the veil, it has attacked supporters of the PFLP and it has been guilty of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners. I support the liberation of Palestine not the substitution of one form of oppression for another. I support Hamas when it confronts Israel, not when it confronts its own people.
'Despite its somewhat fiery statements, Hamas's impulse and willingness to deal with American propositions are indeed astonishing. Two letters were sent, as far as I know, to the new Obama administration after the term of former US President George W. Bush ended. The Americans emphasized that they declined to accept the first letter. However, it is the content of the letters and how they reflect the aspirations of Palestinians -- both in all of historic Palestine as well as in the Diaspora -- that is significant.
The content of these letters along with statements made by senior Hamas leaders indicate to the US Hamas's acceptance of and commitment to the two-state solution; i.e. the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Yet many Hamas leaders simultaneously accentuate their refusal to recognize the State of Israel and accept the two-state solution! Simply put, the Palestinian leadership elected by the majority of one-third of the Palestinian people, i.e. the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is announcing its commitment to a racist solution that disregards the rights of 6-7 million Palestinian refugees, and the national and cultural rights of 1.4 million Palestinians in Israel....
Hamas's success in the 2006 elections was due mainly to the fact that the Palestinian national movement failed to accomplish its declared goals, abandoned the "interim program" and accepted an exceptionally racist solution that denies internationally legitimated historical rights. However, Hamas's acceptance of the two-state solution, or a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as it is often called, is not at odds politically with either the left or right wing of the national movement.
But what does this state look like? And does Hamas have an alternative to the two-state, or two-prison, solution which has become impossible to achieve?
The experience of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip offers a miniature model of an Islamic state, whereas the West Bank stands as the Bantustan state to be declared in November 2011. It is common knowledge that Gaza has recently undergone ideological social transformations through laws that are enforced without being enacted. Such laws target individual freedoms, particularly those of women, who are no longer allowed to smoke water pipe in public or ride behind their spouses on motorcycles. Likewise, female students are now forced to wear the jilbab and the hijab, while female lawyers must wear the hijab. Of course, these practices claim to "protect our customs and traditions," but is there a traditional text that bars women from smoking, for instance? The democracy that provided the foundation for the 2006 elections is based on guaranteeing individual freedoms. Many statements made by Hamas leaders inside and outside of Gaza before the elections emphasized that those leaders would respect such freedoms if elected.
The transformation of many members of the resistance, who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their homeland and who exerted impressive efforts to defend Gaza in 2009, into religious police like those in Saudi Arabia requires a serious and critical revision by Hamas.
Therefore, it is obvious that Hamas is unable to realize that the war on Gaza in 2009 has created a new political reality whereby Israel pulled the trigger on the racist two-state/two-prison solution. Hamas insists on adopting this approach and claims it is a temporary tactic until the balance of power shifts, as the movement assumes it will within the truce period of ten or twenty years. During this time, it plans to build a state after its model in Gaza. This only indicates the lack of a clear strategic vision to end the conflict, a vision that draws on past global struggles against colonialism, particularly against the abhorrent South African apartheid regime, which collapsed resoundingly in 1994.
Unfortunately, there has been no indication, based on my reading of many statements made by Hamas leaders, of a clear understanding within the movement either of the apartheid nature of the State of Israel or of the tools used by the South African anti-apartheid movement. One such tool is the international boycott campaign, without which the apartheid regime would not have ended. This demonstrates Hamas's failure to understand the role of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). As a recent report by the Israel-based Reut Institute indicates, even the Israelis themselves are concerned about the momentum the BDS movement is gaining. There is no statement whatsoever, either in public speeches of Hamas officials or in its literature, which indicates an understanding of these efforts which, as Reut claimed, served to "delegitimize Israel" and "pose a threat to its very existence."
Nahida's argument is similar to those who say that because Iran is under threat by US imperialism we should therefore not support pro-democracy protestors. On the contrary I say that the best way to defeat imperialism is the maximum democracy in the Arab world and Iran.
Hamas is politically illiterate. It says it wants one Arab/Muslim state in Palestine and also says in private that it would accept 2 states as a solution. It cites as authentic the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic forgery of the Czarist secret police, which was the bible of anti-Jewish racists in Europe. Anti-semitism i.e. anti-Jewish racism in Europe directly led to the creation of the Zionist movement with all the consequences we know. The creation of the Israeli state, a state based on racial exclusivism and separation, was Hitler’s final achievement. To give any support to anti-Semitism is effectively to support those who were themselves responsible for the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinians.
I should add that the demand for an Islamic or Arab state in Palestine does not take any account of non-Arabs including Israeli Jews. In short it is no solution and the idea that a religious sectarian movement can represent Palestinians who are not just followers of Islam but contain for example Christians, illustrates the problems of supporting uncritically such a group.
Rather than employing a well reasoned argument, something which is of course impossible, especially for a supporter of Political Islam, Nahida uses this ‘guilt by association’ technique which calls Haaretz ‘Zionist’ as a means of avoiding the fact that Hamas did try to prevent demonstrations in Gaza.
From: nahida [mailto:nahidayasin@]
Sent: 15 February 2011 09:59
To: tony greenstein
Subject: Would you please get your facts right and stop spreading zionist propaganda poison and lies against the Palestinian Resistance
Hamas Shows Its True Colours (says Tony)
Hamas blocks Egypt solidarity demonstrations in Gaza, says rights group (says zionist haaretz)
FYI: We have watched the supportive demonstrations in Gaza LIVE
Gaza youths celebrate Egypt revolution
Yousef al-Helou, Press TV, Gaza
The joyful protestors who gathered at the courtyard of the Palestinian legislative council said they came out to celebrate and express solidarity with the Egyptians.
Meanwhile, hundreds of women and female students also gathered at Palestine square in downtown Gaza to send a message of support to the Egyptian protestors in Cairo's Liberation square who were finally successful in ousting President Mubarak after 30 years of autocratic rule.
Emotions are strong among Gazans who would like to see a new government in Egypt that will break the ongoing Israeli siege by opening the Rafah border in order to allow aid convoys and supplies to reach Gaza without Israeli interference.
The will of the Egyptian people proved to be stronger than dictators and tyrannical rulers. However, with Gaza's only terminal to the outside world still closed, activists have started a campaign calling for the opening of the Rafah gate to liberate Gazans.